Neural Networks Group

The cortex is the largest part of our brain, and its function remains a major mystery in neuroscience.  We are only beginning to understand its role in crucial brain functions, such as learning and memory. Our group explores how the cortical neurons, and their dendrites, encode and process information during behaviours. To do so, we use cutting-edge techniques like patch clamp electrophysiology, two-photon calcium imaging, widefield imaging, and optogenetics in vitro and in vivo. By examining individual neurons and the networks that drive behaviour, we aim to uncover changes that occur in both normal brain function and dysfunction, with a particular focus on brain cancer.

About our research

Individual neurons are continuously bombarded with thousands of synaptic inputs onto their dendritic branches. We investigate how the brain processes this information by measuring the activity of neurons within the neocortex using a variety of techniques including two-photon calcium imaging and patch-clamp electrophysiology.

Our research specifically focuses on neuronal dendrites, the thin neural processes that actively transform synaptic inputs into neuronal output. The dendritic integration of synaptic input, its modulation and its influence on brain function and behaviour is the focus of our research.

Through our work, we not only aim to reveal how sensory information is received, transformed and modulated in neurons but also how modulation of synaptic integration contributes to the overall neural network activity underlying learning and memory.

Brain cancer is one of the most devastating diagnosis a patient can receive. Unfortunately, despite significant research efforts, survival rates have changed little in the past 40 years and further research is required to understand this devastating disease. Our laboratory aims to contribute to our growing understanding of how neural activity influences the proliferation of brain cancer.

Research interests

  • Sensory perception
  • Memory and learning
  • Neural activity of behaviour
  • Dendrites
  • Neural networks


  • Two-photon calcium imaging
  • Widefield imaging
  • In vivo and in vitro electrophysiology
  • Optogenetics

‘Neurons are the building blocks of behaviour’

Research team

Research team head

Team members

Research fellows

  • Marius Rosier
  • Luca Godenzini

Research and technical staff

  • Sean Murphy

PhD students

  • Joseph Goodsell
  • Rei Masuda
  • George Stuyt
  • Ann-Sofie Bjerre
  • Heidi McAlpine
  • Liam Leyden
  • Yi Hu
  • Elena Regele Blasco
  • Serena Wang
  • Xiaoyu Wang

Master students

  • Jacob Hannah
  • Jay Kim
  • Rose Firth
  • Nel Arseven

Honours students

  • Samuel Combes

Undergraduate students

  • Jordan Rozario


  • Robertas Guzulaitis, Luca Godenzini and Palmer, L.B. (2022). Neural basis of anticipation and premature impulsive action in the frontal cortex. Nature Neuroscience, 25(12), pp.1683–1692. doi:
  • Godenzini, L., Alwis, D., Guzulaitis, R., Honnuraiah, S., Stuart, G.J. and Palmer, L.M. (2021). Auditory input enhances somatosensory encoding and tactile goal-directed behavior. Nature Communications, [online] 12(1), p.4509. doi:
  • Murphy, S.C., Luca Godenzini, Robertas Guzulaitis, Lawrence, A.J. and Palmer, L.M. (2023). Cocaine regulates sensory filtering in cortical pyramidal neurons. Cell Reports, 42(2), pp.112122–112122. doi:
  • Danilo La Terra, Ann-Sofie Bjerre, Rosier, M., Masuda, R., Ryan, T.J. and Palmer, L.B. (2022). The role of higher order thalamus during learning and correct performance in goal-directed behavior. eLife, 11. doi:

Contact us

Professor Lucy Palmer

Group Head
[email protected]